Australia, November 2017
I spent almost 4 weeks traveling the east coast of Australia, from South to North. We traveled using Greyhound buses with 10 stops between Melbourne and Cairns.
23-24 Nov – Melbourne
25-27 Nov – Sydney
28-30 Nov – Byron Bay
1-2 Oct – Gold Coast
3 Oct – Brisbane
4 Oct – Rainbow Beach
5-7 Oct – Fraser Island (4×4 Tour)
8 Oct – Rainbow Beach
9 Oct – Airlie Beach
9-11 Oct – Whitsundays (Tongarra Boat Tour)
12-17 Oct – Cairns (SCUBA diving training & Sky Dive)
- Again, Very American – As with New Zealand, I was surprised by how Americanised Australi was. American brands were most prevalent and the look and feel in terms of towns, restaurants and so felt very American to me.
- The Global Nature of Big Accounting Firms – I knew that the big accounting firms (PWC, EY, etc) had a strong hold on the market, but it surprised me a little to see huge skyscrapers with their logos emblazoned in both Sydney and Melbourne.
- Lots of German’s – Who would have known that backpacking was so popular amongst German’s? On almost every tour we went on at least a third of the group was German. They were typically the most prominent nation and seemed very much in love with the traveler lifestyle.
- Shit Internet – It amazed me how poor the internet was up and down Australia. For a developed nation this seemed really out of kilter.
- To do: A river cuts through the heart of Melbourne and it’s really nice to walk either side of it with lot’s of restaurants and bars etc. Botanical gardens were also good.
- Drinks: Glenmore Hotel had a really nice rooftop for a few drinks and it’s right by the harbour so you can walk around thereafter. The Ivy Rooftop was also really nice and puts on some good events.
- To do: Rackless bikes are popular here and a good way to get around the city. I’d recommend downloading one of the apps and getting around this way to see the gardens, harbour, opera house, etc.
- Byron Bay
- Surfing: This is a great place to try your hand at surfing.
- Restaurant: The Balcony Bar & Oyster Co was a nice restaurant. The balcony looks out over the main road so is cool to have a drink too.
- Nightlife: Woody’s Surf Shack was the best place to go for a drink and night out. The Art’s Factory hostel is a 15-minute walk from the main area but does a good live music night.
- Hostel: Cape Byron YHA was a good hostel here.
- Fraser Island
- 4v4 Tour: This is an amazing way to see Fraser Island. You meet a big group of people and do lots of things in between. Really recommend.
- Boat Tour: Recommend. We did Tongarra which was a good atmosphere; not a huge party boat but people had a few drinks and it was friendly. You see some amazing beaches and the snorkelling is good too.
A huge, sprawling country with lots of character and a very proud people. It was a really fun filled experience with lots to do and see. In particular, I loved exploring Fraser Island and Whitsundays – I would recommend these tours to everyone. One disappointment was the clear segregation of the white Australians and the indigenous Aboriginal’s. The Aboriginals seem to be seen and treated as secondary people which makes for an unwelcoming environment in places. (This seemed particularly noticeable having come straight from New Zealand where the relationship with the Moari’s is very strong).